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Submitted by bpmccarthy on Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:40

Morphology refers to the characters an organism that have developed over time throughout the course of evolution. A lot about an organism's lifestyle can be understood by looking at their morphology. For example, many organisms that live underwater have common traits such as the absence of hind limbs and the presence of fins and tails. Aside from habitat, morphology can also tell us what diet an organism might have. From presence of teeth to the different shapes and forms of teeth it is possible to discern what an organism eats. A more useful way to look at morphology is the classification of animals. Animals belonging to the same family often have a few shared characters which makes it easier for us to organize them. Characters of the skull and limbs are often the most useful in determining the group a certain animal belongs to. In mammals, a lot can be said about the number and placement of digits and characters of the skull such as postorbital processes, mandible shape, presence of horns or cones, and a great number of other things. The organization of animals using morphology is mostly accurate, but can be improved upon by using genetic techniques, which can more accurately place animals together in groups using genome rather than just looking at shared characters. Still, morphology is a good place to start.